All About Fillers: The Different Options And What They Do

By Dr. Robyn Gmyrek

Dermal fillers are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures done today. There has been lots of innovation in recent years, including the introduction of several new products on the market. Below is an introduction to fillers.

What are dermal fillers and how are they used?
Dermal fillers are substances that are injected into and under the skin to help diminish facial lines and restore volume and fullness. The most popular substances used as dermal filler are hyaluronic acids, which are natural sugars already present in your body. They bind water in the skin, causing a plumping effect. As they restore this fullness, the skin appears tighter and suppler.

Dermal fillers are used to:

– Minimize facial creases and wrinkles
– Restore facial volume
– Plump thin lips
– Enhance shallow contours
– Improve the appearance of recessed scars
– Restore volume to the hands

Why are there so many filler choices?
Each type of filler works in a slightly different way, and choosing the right one depends on what your specific concerns are. You might need a variety of fillers during the same treatment session to correct different concerns. Finer lines, for example, call for a softer, thinner hyaluronic acid. Deeper wrinkles (like nasolabial folds, also known as smile lines) on the other hand, require thicker filler such as Radiesse or Juvederm. There are also volumizing fillers that are much thicker and more robust to correct volume loss in the mid-face, jawline, and temples.

How can fillers achieve a natural look?
As we age, our faces naturally lose subcutaneous fat while the skin loses collagen and elastin. You can see the effects of this loss through wrinkle formation and a decrease in facial volume. Fillers restore what was lost in the aging process, providing the underlying support that the skin had in its youth, as well as a better structure to the skin on top. This results in a natural youthful look.

How long do they last and is the procedure painful?
The duration of results varies from product to product and patient to patient, but it ranges from six months to over a year or two. Some research shows—and I have seen this in my patients as well—that repeated injections may help stimulate the body’s own natural production of collagen.

While the perception of pain is always individual, the majority of patients experience only mild discomfort. Topical numbing cream can be applied to the area prior to treatment, and almost all dermal fillers contain lidocaine anesthetic to decrease discomfort. (Here are some general rules to prep your skin for a treatment.)

What is your signature procedure?
My signature procedure is actually a combination—a trio treatment. I utilize fillers to restore mid-face volume loss, neurotoxins to address the falling brow and to brighten up the eye area, and an overall skin laser treatment to remove brown spots and give an even and clear tone to the skin. This approach can really have a huge impact with very little recovery time. Overall, fillers can be a great way to boost volume and give the face a healthy, youthful appearance.

Even though the risks related to fillers are minimal, they do exist. This is why you should only ever have fillers injected by a board-certified dermatologist who has had ongoing, specialized training to ensure optimal results.

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